Seeking Examples of Circular Agriculture & Food Solutions in Canada

Date: June 30, 2021

Author: Sonia Cyrus Patel, Circular Economy Research Associate at the Smart Prosperity Institute.


A staggering 58 percent of all food produced in Canada or 35.5 million tonnes, is lost or wasted annually across the supply chain. Moreover, it is estimated that at least a third of this can be prevented. To put that in perspective, that’s enough food to feed every Canadian for five months and represents a lost economic value of almost C$50 billion.        

Much of this issue can be addressed by rethinking our conventional agriculture and food practices in ways that help to regenerate our natural resources and reduce food loss and waste, or where this is not possible, create new value from it. This line of thinking - also known as the circular economy model - is gaining traction across the globe as way of building a more sustainable economy. Applying circular economy principles to the agri-food system, can not only help to address the food loss and waste issue but also generate multiple co-benefits, including enhancing food security and the resiliency of supply chains creating new economic, investment, and employment opportunities; reducing pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; improving nutrient cycling and restored biodiversity; and providing greater equity and related social benefits.

To uncover examples of how communities and businesses - large and small, urban and rural, and from coast to coast - are engaging in activities across food supply chains to make them more circular, sustainable, and resilient, the City of Guelph's Our Food Future initiativeNational Zero Waste Council and NGen: Canada's Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster have funded a research project which is being undertaken by the Smart Prosperity Institute.

This national mapping exercise is intended to identify circular hot spots, unearth examples of circular food system approaches and identify leaders that producers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, food recovery organizations, and supply chain innovators can learn from. We would like to hear from businesses and communities - large and small, urban and rural, and from coast to coast - who are engaging in activities across the food supply chain. We’re especially hoping to learn about efforts underway in rural, coastal and Indigenous communities and understand how circular practices are helping build food security and resilience.

The examples will inform the Circular Economy Solutions Series - Circular Food Systems Track in partnership with Circular Economy Leadership Canada, a collaborative national initiative exploring how we can design our agricultural supply chain and food systems with circularity in mind to enhance productivity, spur innovation, eliminate waste, reduce GHG emissions, and restore damaged soil and ecosystems. These examples of solutions and best practices from every corner of Canada will support future engagement with a broad set of stakeholders across the entire value chain and agri-food ecosystem in Canada, resulting in an accelerated transition to a circular food system through coordinated and collective action.

If you represent or know of a solution that's contributing to a more circular, sustainable, and resilient agri-food system, we would love to hear more about it! Please help us further this critical transition by telling us more about the initiative by filling out this short form.